Orange County's best restaurant just got better last month, as Anepalco's Cafe's Ayres Hotel location got a full-fledged bar. Chef-owner Danny Godínez wanted cocktails to go with his magnificent creations but is asking for time, as his Peruvian barkeep is still working out the kinks on the cocktail menu. Whatever! Anepalco's could serve a slab of drywall, and the team here could somehow turn it into something better-tasting than the offerings of most O.C. eateries. The cocktails are already great, if leaning a bit too much to the brunch side of sweetness.
One drink, however, is already hinting at where Anepalco's wants its bar program to go. Just like the dishes that accompany it, the Vida is a masterpiece of mestizaje–and one hell of a punch.
If you think Vida is just a slapdash cocktail because of its straightforward nature–Casa Noble blanco, Del Maguey mezcal, Dickel rye, and Peychaud's–then you're obviously not familiar with Godínez's sorcery, which takes the tried-and-true like chilaquiles and boosts them to extraordinary heights. And that's what happens with the Vida. The tricolor of tequila, mezcal, and rye unite to form something that looks like an innocuous rosé but smashes like jungle juice; the bitters unite the squabbling liquors into a calming peace. It's the ultimate hombre drink, though, so only W.C. Fields-style drinkers should attempt, as everyone else sits around in awe at Anepalco's anew.